Post-Holiday Recycling!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season! For information regarding Christmas tree recycling, how to safely recycle old Christmas lights, and wrapping paper recycling, see below!

Wrapping paper

Most gift wrap is recyclable, except plastic wraps or metallic papers. All cardboard and paperboard packaging is also recyclable. Please reuse ribbons and bows or discard in the trash.  If you do not have curbside recycling where you live, you may utilize the Town of Normal’s drop-off locations.

Christmas trees

Residents of Bloomington and Normal enrolled in those municipalities’ waste collection programs may dispose of their real (non-artificial) Christmas tree by placing it at the curb for collection on your regularly scheduled waste collection day. As these trees will be chipped into mulch, please be sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, etc. Please do not put your tree or any other waste in the street.

For residents outside of Bloomington or Normal, please check with your local municipality for tree collection options. If you do not have tree collection service at your home or in your municipality, Twin City Wood Recycling will accept your tree for chipping into mulch at their facility at 1606 W Oakland Avenue in Bloomington at a cost of $2 per tree. Call (309) 827-9663 for more information and operating hours.

Christmas lights & other e-waste

Illinois law bans most consumer electronics from landfills–they must be recycled instead. Residents can recycle strings of Christmas lights, cords, and related electronic items, regardless of condition, at one of the many locations listed below.

Did Santa bring you a new TV? Note that only two local sites now accept the older tube-style CRT TVs and monitors for recycling. See “Items Accepted” for each of the e-waste recycling collection points below.

Location: Best Buy, 2103 N Veterans Pkwy Suite 200, Bloomington, 309-663-8090
Items Accepted: Computers, computer accessories, monitors, televisions up to 32″ (flatscreens up to 60″), all types of radios, VCRs, cameras, etc. Damaged or non-working items accepted. Customers are limited to bringing in 3 units per day per household.
Items Not Accepted: appliances, microwaves, TVs that are consoles, rear-projections, or DLPs or larger than 32″, items with freon such as air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators. No business generated waste.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-9:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am-8:00 pm

Location: Home Sweet Home Warehouse Operations, 1700 W Washington St., Bloomington, 309-828-1530
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs,
Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories
All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes (ONLY at Mission Mart location)
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business-generated waste
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-4:00 pm, 24 hour drop-off

Location: Habitat For Humanity ReStore, 1402 W Washington, Bloomington, 309-454-6047
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Location: Normal Public Works Garage, 1301 Warriner St., Normal, 309-454-9571
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops,televisions, monitors, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted.
All forms of electronic media: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 am-2:30 pm; the first Saturday of every month 8:00 am-12:00 pm
Summer hours 6:00 am-1:30 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)

For more information on recycling, hazardous waste disposal, and more, you can always consult other sections of this or call us at 309-454-3169.

America Recycles Day – Mega Recycling

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This November 5, the Ecology Action Center and Illinois Wesleyan University will host a Mega Recycling Event at the IWU Hansen Center from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event is one of thousands across the country to celebrate America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. With support from State Farm, Home Sweet Home Ministries HSHRenew and Midwest Fiber/Confidential Onsite Shredding, the fifth annual America Recycles Day MEGA Recycling event continues to grow to reach more people each year.

While most families recycle the usual – plastic food containers, glass bottles, newspapers, and such, what about other items? Well, for one day, residents can recycle “the other” recyclables all in one place, all at the same time.

On America Recycles Day at IWU, residents can recycle:

  • Electronics (computers, radios, cellphones, ipods, VCRs, DVD players, etc.)
  • Clothes, textiles, and shoes (usable or not) courtesy of Home Sweet Home Ministries HSHRenew
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, holiday lights, keys, printer cartridges (courtesy of the Lions Club)
  • Mattresses (Kern Mattress Outlet)
  • Wall-mounted thermostats containing mercury (Town of Normal Public Works)
  • Corks
  • Plastic grocery bags (Kroger)
  • TerraCycle items
  • Plus free confidential paper shredding

All items will be properly recycled by licensed recyclers where applicable.  Please note that some items cannot be accepted at this event.

  • No CRT/tube-style TVs or monitors.
  • Household hazardous waste items will NOT be accepted – chemicals, paints, automotive fluids, car batteries, tires, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. These items cannot be accepted at this event but must wait for a future household hazardous waste collection event.
  • This event is for residential materials only – no business materials can be accepted.

Residents with questions about acceptable items or household hazardous waste, can contact the Ecology Action Center at (309) 454-3169.

America Recycles Day is a national program of Keep America Beautiful, and is the only nationally recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S.  Since its inception in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day every November to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action. Learn more at AmericaRecyclesDay.org.

Sustainable Gourmet – Wine and Local Foods Fundraiser

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The Ecology Action Center invites you to attend the eleventh annual Sustainable Gourmet on Thursday, October 27, at 6 p.m. This popular fundraiser for the EAC features artisanal and sustainable food hors d’oeuvres, an organic and local wine tasting, and a silent auction with fabulous sustainable items from local businesses and organizations. The event will be held at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott at 201 Broadway Avenue in Normal.

Please join us for this annual celebration as we continue to push the envelope towards more innovative solutions to address local, regional, and global environmental challenges. Proceeds of this fundraiser benefit the Ecology Action Center and its important environmental education efforts. Tickets are $40 and are available using the form below.  Ticket sales deadline is October 20 or until tickets sell out.

Sponsored by:

straightup-solar             Marriott   drdr

   obrien

 

 

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

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Come join us for our October workday along Sugar Creek! We have had a great group coming out throughout the summer to work on Sugar Creek in Bloomington and in Normal, near Anderson, Fairview and Tipton Parks, and have been clearing Canada thistle, garlic mustard, burdock and hemlock! In October, we’ll be back along Sugar Creek in the Town of Normal!

The next workday will be Saturday, October 22, from 9 am to 12 pm – NOTE THE CHANGE TO THE 4TH SATURDAY. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws. Please wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and bring your own work gloves and bottle of water (reusable bottle, of course). We will work on the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year – invasives never sleep, so neither can we!

The Sugar Creek Stewards is a Clean Water Program of the Ecology Action Center, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

 

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Details on worksite  and  meeting location will be provided to registered volunteers prior to the workday. To become a regular EAC volunteer and be automatically contacted for future Sugar Creek Steward workdays, register at EAC-Volunteer.

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Composting Workshop

The Ecology Action Center is excited to announce a build-your-own-composter workshop on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.  Backyard composting is the easiest way to reduce garbage from home and create rich soil nutrients to feed the garden at the same time.  By taking advantage of natural processes, the amount of residential waste being landfilled can be reduced while also producing a valuable organic fertilizer.

Turn pallets into a compost bin!

Turn pallets into a compost bin with removable front for easy compost access!

The composter workshop will include everything needed to successfully begin home composting.  Various types of compost systems and techniques will be discussed in addition to troubleshooting tips to avoid potential problems.  Participants will make and take home a composter ready for use as well as receive a kitchen compost pail.

Option 1: Wooden Pallet Composter

This collapsible composter will measure approximately 3x3x3 when set up.  It is open on the top, and easy to stir.

Price:  $10 for EAC members; $15 for nonmembers.

Convert a garbage can into a compost barrel!

Convert a garbage can into a compost barrel!

Option 2: Plastic Garbage Cans

This model takes up little room and is easy to duplicate when you need more capacity.  Cans are approximately 30 gallons in size, and participants build TWO composting cans.

Price: $15 for EAC members; $20 for nonmembers.

Workshop space is limited and pre-registration is required. This workshop runs rain or shine. The construction process can get a bit messy so wear clothes that can get dirty. Bring an appropriate vehicle to transport your compost bin home. We will be using power tools; safety glasses are required and will be provided. For safety reasons, all participants must be 18 years or older.

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“Restaurant Roundtable on Reducing Energy Costs”

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Ameren Illinois and the Illinois Restaurant Association will be hosting a “Restaurant Roundtable on Reducing Energy Costs” event on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 2:00 p.m. You are encouraged to attend this event where you will learn about reducing utility costs and hear from area restaurant owners, commercial kitchen equipment retailers, and Ameren Illinois.

The featured speaker will be Joe Terrell, a retired franchisee of two Denny’s restaurants which he owned and operated for nearly 30 years. His restaurants were the first Denny’s in the U.S. to receive an ENERGY STAR® rating and LEED®
certification. Joe has talked to restaurant groups and associations from all over the country on the topic of energy waste
and reduction—even speaking at the White House last December! To learn more about Joe, visit MyGreenDennys.com.

Additional information will be presented by:
• Steve Shaw, Alexander’s Owner – advantages of Ameren Illinois cash incentives for energy efficient upgrades.
• Illinois Restaurant Association – Association and Membership updates.
• Johnson Foodservice Equipment – the latest on ENERGY STAR-rated equipment.
• Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program – cash incentives for commercial kitchens.

Event attendees will receive a discount coupon code that can be used towards the purchase of energy-efficient lighting products at the Ameren Illinois Online Store.

There is no cost to attend—appetizers and soft drinks will be provided. Space is limited so please RSVP by Tuesday, Oct. 4 to John Beintema at 309.677.5079 or  jbeintema@ameren.com. We look forward to seeing you there!

John Beintema, LEED Green Associate: Market Segment Coordinator, Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program
Eric Fine, Director of Sales & Marketing, Illinois Restaurant Association

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Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

scs logo

Come join us for our September workday along Sugar Creek! We have had a great group coming out throughout the summer to work on Sugar Creek in Bloomington and in Normal, near Anderson, Fairview and Tipton Parks, and have been clearing Canada thistle, garlic mustard, burdock and hemlock! In September, we’ll be back along Sugar Creek in the City of Bloomington!

The next workday will be Saturday, September 24, from 9 am to 12 pm – NOTE THE CHANGE TO THE 4TH SATURDAY to accommodate the Tour de Taco. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws. Please wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and bring your own work gloves and bottle of water (reusable bottle, of course). We will work on the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year – invasives never sleep, so neither can we!

The Sugar Creek Stewards is a Clean Water Program of the Ecology Action Center, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact Marcus Ricci at 309-454-3169, ext. 15, or at mricci@ecologyactioncenter.org.

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Details on worksite  and  meeting location will be provided to registered volunteers prior to the workday. To become a regular EAC volunteer and be automatically contacted for future Sugar Creek Steward workdays, register at EAC-Volunteer.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT HAS CLOSED. PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE OCTOBER 22 WORKDAY (4TH SATURDAY AGAIN).

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Composting Workshop

The Ecology Action Center is excited to announce a build-your-own-composter workshop on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.  Backyard composting is the easiest way to reduce garbage from home and create rich soil nutrients to feed the garden at the same time.  By taking advantage of natural processes, the amount of residential waste being landfilled can be reduced while also producing a valuable organic fertilizer.

Turn pallets into a compost bin!

Turn pallets into a compost bin with removable front for easy compost access!

The composter workshop will include everything needed to successfully begin home composting.  Various types of compost systems and techniques will be discussed in addition to troubleshooting tips to avoid potential problems.  Participants will make and take home a composter ready for use as well as receive a kitchen compost pail.

Option 1: Wooden Pallet Composter

This collapsible composter will measure approximately 3x3x3 when set up.  It is open on the top, and easy to stir.

Price:  $10 for EAC members; $15 for nonmembers.

Convert a garbage can into a compost barrel!

Convert a garbage can into a compost barrel!

Option 2: Plastic Garbage Cans

This model takes up little room and is easy to duplicate when you need more capacity.  Cans are approximately 30 gallons in size, and participants build TWO composting cans.

Price: $15 for EAC members; $20 for nonmembers.

Workshop space is limited and pre-registration is required. This workshop runs rain or shine. The construction process can get a bit messy so wear clothes that can get dirty. Bring an appropriate vehicle to transport your compost bin home. We will be using power tools; safety glasses are required and will be provided. For safety reasons, all participants must be 18 years or older.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP HAS CLOSED. PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE OCTOBER 15 WORKSHOP!

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Solar Bloomington-Normal Surpasses 100kW Goal, Lowers Solar Costs

kp-p-solar-2aMclean County, IL, With less than a month to go, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in partnership with The Ecology Action Center (EAC) of Normal, have surpassed their goal of 100 kW solar for home, business and farm installation in McLean County through their Solar Group Buy Program. Meeting this benchmark gives participants a further discount of 1%, making solar even more accessible and affordable for residents through the power of volume purchasing. The next discount occurs at 150 kW. With 108 kW already committed, the second benchmark is achievable prior to the program’s deadline of September 30th.

A total of 20 informational Power Hour sessions were held since the program’s launch in April, reaching over 230 individuals. Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center, was happy the Ecology Action Center could help with this program, “This is an exciting opportunity to expand solar in McLean County, lower energy bills for participants and expand our community’s sustainability efforts”. So far 12 home and business owners have signed up to go solar through the program, bringing a total of 108 kW of clean solar energy to McLean County.

Education is the core of the program. MREA, EAC, and StraightUp Solar staff educate participants on all aspects of the solar process, making the entire project easily accessible and cost-effective for participants. Through the program, participants don’t have to worry about selecting an installer, applying for state and federal incentives, working with the utility, zoning, or any other task that might otherwise deter an individual from going solar. The Group Buy Program helps participants navigate the easiest and most cost effective route to solar.

herring“MREA and EAC work together to educate those who are interested in going solar,” said Peter Murphy, solar program manager at MREA. “The goal is for folks to learn about solar, which can seem daunting at first, and then go into the process with eyes wide open.”

Together the EAC and MREA have solidified local company StraightUp Solar as the program’s installer through a competitive bid process. StraightUp Solar has installed hundreds of solar arrays, has both master electricians and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified professionals on staff. MREA is an advocate for having NABCEP-certified installers on all solar projects to ensure systems are completed to the highest standard of quality and safety. StraightUp Solar provides interested participants free site assessments, helping customers determine whether rooftop solar will make sense on their property.

Interested participants have until September 30th to formally express interest in the program, with a deadline of October 31st to sign a contract. For more information about participating in the Solar Bloomington-Normal group buy, contact MREA’s Solar Program Coordinator, Peter Murphy at 414-988-7963, or peterm@midwestrenew.org.

The Solar Bloomington-Normal Group Buy Program is brought to you by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), with support from promotional partner the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

The MREA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.  The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.